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First offer ready as Woodward steps up exciting Man Utd defender hunt

Manchester United are in pole position to sign Monaco centre-back Benoit Badiashile and are ready to make a firm approach, according to a report.

The 19-year-old has emerged as an exciting prospect across Europe after rising through Monaco’s ranks. He joined the club’s Under-19’s set-up in 2017 before stepping up to the first team a year later.

Reports in June indicated that United hold an initial interest in Badiashile. Several scouts watched the defender in action this season and he is on the club’s shortlist.

However, according to Le10 Sport, the Red Devils have firmed up that interest. In fact, they now lead the race for the France Under-19 international.

The source says United are “ready” to contact Monaco officials to formally register an offer, with the French club wanting at least €30million (£27million) for the player.

However, there is also a possibility that Badiashile could end up staying at Monaco. The club recently appointed former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac, who “greatly appreciates” the defender’s qualities.

In any case, Badiashile has four years left on the contract extension he signed in December.

Badiashile made 26 starts in all competitions in the 2018/19 campaign for Monaco as they just avoided relegation from Ligue 1.

And he continued his rise this season, making 20 starts in all competitions before authorities ended the season prematurely.

Several reports have indicated that a new centre-back is among the top priorities for United this summer.

Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly keen to break up the partnership between Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, with Lille’s Gabriel Magalhaes also linked.

However, should United’s pursuit of Jadon Sancho be successful, the Red Devils could be short on funds.

Dortmund want £108million for England international Sancho and are not budging on their valuation.

MAN UTD URGED TO DITCH SANCHO INTEREST

Jadon.Sancho.Dortmund.TEAMtalk

Meanwhile, Paul Merson says United should target a move for Harry Kane instead of Sancho.

Tottenham striker Kane has an excellent goalscoring record in the Premier League, but a hamstring injury set him back this season.

Merson says the England captain would make United certain title contenders.

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